Shriekers were human-sized mushrooms. They were similar in appearance to violet fungi, but they lacked the ability to move and did not have tentacles with which to poison prey. They could produce a loud, piercing, screaming sound that tended to attract curious creature (or adventurers) to the area.
They were immune to the poison of violet fungi.
Shriekers could sense nearby motion or light and would respond with their namesake shriek. Each such screaming sound lasted between five and fifteen seconds. A patch of shriekers relied on violet fungi to kill prey with their poison, since a shrieker could not attack or move on its own. Like violet fungi, shriekers gained their nourishment from the breakdown of organic matter that had fallen nearby.
Shriekers thrived in dark underground environments. Besides being found in large numbers in the Underdark, shriekers also grew on the illithid homeworld. The Flooded Forest was a dark enough environment for shriekers to grow there as well.
- Hedgehog shrieker
- Endemic to the caverns beneath the Storm Horns mountain range, these shriekers were distinct from the standard variety in three ways. First, their stalks were covered in fur similar to that of a hedgehog, which tasted like sugar. Instead of reacting to motion or light, they only elicited their namesake shriek in the presence of medusae. It was thought that hedgehog shriekers had evolved a natural defense against them as a result of the medusae's fondness for all varieties of fungi. Finally, hedgehog shriekers thrived equally as well in sunlight as they did darkness.
In the Underdark, shriekers were sometimes placed intentionally to act as intruder alarms. House DeVir planted a shrieker among every fifth mushroom surrounding its compound to ward off potential attackers.
Shriekers were poisonous to most creatures as food; however, the stomachs of hook horrors had adapted to digest them without issue. They were also known to be eaten by purple worms, shambling mounds, and medusae.
Some considered their spores to be a vital ingredient in brewing a potion of plant control. In Cormyr, mushroom hunters often glazed fairy caps with the fur of hedgehog shriekers, making the mushrooms fetch twice their normal price.
Around the 14th century DR, some time prior to 1367 DR, the Waymoot town of Minroe discovered the sub-species known as hedgehog shriekers. They domesticated the fungi by feeding them a paste of beetle larvae and decayed choke creeper vines. They became a staple in the town's gardens, acting as an alarm system against medusae. And the town's mushroom hunters often carried them into the region's medusae-infested caves. Over time this caused a decline in the nearby medusae population.
- Dungeon #20: "The Ship Of Night" • Dungeon #30: "... And a Dozen Eggs" • Dungeon #52: "Welcome to the Krypthome" • Dungeon #94: "Spiral of Manzessine" • Dungeon #206, "Eyes on the Ball"
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